after lambana update + new poem + new story + surprise!

So! Some announcements.

1. I have a new story called “At the Diazes’” in LEAP + , magazine of the Asia Pacific Writers & Translators.

ESSAY : Filipinos write back by Jose Dalisay Jr.
FICTION: The Passport by Noelle Q. de Jesus
POETRY : A colony by Allan Pastrama
POETRY : If to measure the brief length of the plane by Allan Pastrama
POETRY : Octopus by Enrique S. Villasis, translated from Tagalog by Mikael de Lara Co
POETRY : Sing Like You Mean It by Joel M. Toledo
POETRY : Man vs. Himself by Joel M. Toledo
ESSAY : American Visa by Jack Wigley
FICTION: At the Diazes’ by Eliza Victoria
POETRY : Zoo Sonnet by Isabela Benzon
POETRY : Brief Letter by Isabela Benzon
ESSAY : The Functional Value of Plain Jane by Augusto Antonia Aguila
POETRY : Beneath the Underdog by Jessica Hagedorn
POETRY : The Evolution of Bruno Mars by Jessica Hagedorn
POETRY : The Day a Storm with my Mother’s Name Came by Kristian Sendon Cordero, translated from Bikol by Marne Kilates
POETRY : The Sorrow of Ancient Fire by Kristian Sendon Cordero, translated from Bikol by Marne Kilates
INTERVIEW: The 5-Spot Interview: Andrea Pasion-Flores by Tim Tomlinson
INTERVIEW: The 5-Spot Interview: J. Neil C. Garcia by Tim Tomlinson
POETRY : The Sadness of a Tongue by Genevieve L. Asenjo, translated from Kinaray-a by Ma. Milagros Lachica
POETRY : The Water I Love is a Stranger by Genevieve L. Asenjo, translated from Kinaray-a by Ma. Milagros Lachica
MEMOIR: Sa Loob by Sandra Nicole Roldan
POETRY : How Our Towns Drown by Gemini H. Abad
ESSAY : Arsenal by Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz
FICTION: Dai vidas du’l grandu investigadores: El caso du’l toro perduto by Dean Francis Alfar. (From The Lives of the Great Detectives: The Case of the Missing Bull)
POETRY : Charcuterie by Krip Yuson
POETRY : Disguise by Krip Yuson
POETRY : A country of bees by Brylle B. Tabora
FICTION: Enough of This is True by Ian Rozales Casocot
POETRY : One Life by Carlomar Arcangel Daoana
POETRY : Self-Help by Carlomar Arcangel Daoana
FICTION: Stress Management by Glenn L. Diaz
POETRY : Ballistics by Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta
POETRY : País Tropical by Marne Kilates
ESSAY : A List of Advice for Traveling to the Country Your Family Departed by Laurel Fantauzzo
FICTION: An excerpt from “First Job” by Gabriela Lee
POETRY : The Traveller’s Song by Jose Rizal, translated from Spanish by Marne Kilates

This is one of the pieces in the collection of interconnected science fiction stories that I have been working on. Another piece is “The Target”, which will be included in the tenth volume of Philippine Speculative Fiction.

Click through to read, and of course feel free to share the link.

This is how it begins:

Chi was going through an inconvenient personal crisis that evening, and so he could hardly focus, or care, when the representative from the family said, “You’re not the Chief Engineer?”The girl, the homeowner’s eldest daughter, looked like she just stepped out of a cocktail party. Black dress, white pearls, no-hands glowing blue deep in her ear, probably the party host urging her to come back. Her, whatever her name was. Joanne told him on their way there but now he couldn’t remember. “Good afternoon,” the Hestia SmartHouse’s front door chirped, for the third time since the moment they arrived on the front porch.“There are no visitors listed in the log for this hour. Please enter the passcode to let yourself in.”

“No, ma’am,” Chi told the client, and out of nowhere came her name. Georgia. Georgia Diaz.

“He’s tied up in meetings at the moment and sends his regrets.”

“Ma knew the Chief Engineer,” Georgia said. “The lady who took my call said he’d come here personally.”

“We’re Senior Engineers, ma’am,” Joanne said. Stress on the senior, making it sound like Chief, only without the fringe benefits. “We’ve got you covered.”

They got the call an hour ago. Georgia planned to just drop by the house for a minute or so, grab a shawl she forgot in her room, when she was greeted by an empty house. She was afraid her family—her parents, her younger sister, and three younger brothers—got locked up in one of the rooms, activated the SoundEraser, and forgot the passcode to deactivate it. It had happened before, Georgia said. One time her mother forgot to close the door to the master bedroom, and her youngest brother, aged seven, slipped inside, locked the door, and accidentally soundproofed the walls. A bedroom in a Hestia SmartHouse could let you in but wouldn’t let you out without a passcode. It was one of the SmartHouse’s Anti-Theft features. Families had caught burglars that way. Or cheating husbands. Unfortunately, with the SoundEraser up, Georgia’s youngest brother had already screamed himself hoarse for two hours and his sisters didn’t even hear a peep.

Sometimes the SmartHouse is just too smart, Joanne had said with a shrug. It happens. Aside from the SmartHouse, Hestia Industries also designed manacles and jail cells, so it was a no-brainer, really.

2. I will have a new poem in an upcoming issue of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly.

3. We won’t be able to release After Lambana in time for Komikon this month, but we will have this out by early 2016. Here, let me distract you with some art from Mervin Malonzo.


4. I will have a new novel out from Visprint before the year ends. We’re done with the copyedits, and I’m just waiting for the cover and chapter art. More about this later.

See you!

‘writer’s block’ on the galvanizers


This is a bit old (published in July gasp what old content), but I may have forgotten to share this here.

Isa Garcia of The Galvanizers asked me about writer’s block, and I said:

Charlie Jane Anders wrote a pretty good article over at io9 called “The 10 Types of Writers’ Block and How to Overcome Them“. I’ve always defined writer’s block as that period when you can’t write anything, but as Charlie illustrates, you can have writer’s block even while working on something. And how do you define “writing” in this context anyway? “Writing” as in the actual act, the sitting down to type and string words together?

In writing (and any other creative endeavor), the work that requires the most energy and brainpower is not the act of writing itself, but the planning phase. An idea often comes unbidden, and before you can execute this idea and turn it into a story, a poem, a painting, a song, you need hours and hours and HOURS of thinking.

Read more here.

Speaking of writer’s block, I am working on a new novel and hoboy it is like pulling teeth. I wrote the first 30 pages pretty easily and just ended up facing a blank wall.

I hope tomorrow (next week? next month?) will be another story.

new books, new stories, and more

How have you been? We’ve had storms making landfall in the country, one after the other, as if we’re an important bus stop for their tour or something, and the news has been pretty strange, Chris Brown sitting next to Iglesia ni Cristo expelling members sitting next to the discovery of a possible second Earth. Sometimes my stories can’t keep up with reality.

On to the updates:


20150723_092933You can buy the book straight from the publisher.

  • Mervin Malonzo is making headway with our comic book collaboration, After Lambana. It was also featured on Bookwatch. See the gorgeousness.

Art by Mervin MalonzoArt by Mervin Malonzo


  • A story of mine, “The Seventh”, is accepted for publication in the 9th issue of LIKHAAN: The Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature. From the referee’s notes: “A disturbing narrative pursuing the uncanny as both atmosphere and lingering effect. The story is relatively short but it builds up to a palpable sense of horror…”
  • Tangent Online reviews Lontar #4.

“Rebecca’s life is falling to pieces one memory at a time in ‘Fade’ by Eliza Victoria. Her dreams are a fractured mix of reality and portent, while her waking life seems to be fading into an ever more nebulous fantasy of false memories and disquieting omissions. What is real and what isn’t splits further when the people in her dreams come to life during the course of one oddly deja-vu-like day. Unexpected visitors promise to bring clarity to the whole mess, but already suspecting she can’t trust her own mind and memory, how can she be expected to trust the words of two seemingly random strangers?”

“Dwellers has paranormal and suspense elements that got me right at the edge of my seat. Victoria’s work is something you shouldn’t miss—her prose is fluid and engaging, not to mention that you’ll get so immersed in the books’ universe, you’re going to want to dive in to more of her stories.”

Now: Line-edited around 40K words of a new short novel, for publication (hopefully!) before the year ends. Title and teasers to follow. Thanks again to Visprint, Nida and Kyra for the love. Also working on a collection of interconnected short stories.

new poem: ‘stargazing’ on southern pacific review

I have a new poem now live on Southern Pacific Review. Click here to read. My thanks to this publication, especially former Poetry Editor Julia Hones, for giving this piece a home.

read my story “fade” for free in this lontar #4 sample

What the tin said.


Print ($14.90 SGD)
Epigram Books

Ebook ($2.99 USD)
Weightless Books (DRM-free)

Read a sample for free!


  1. Forth Into the Light of Things | Jason Erik Lundberg (editorial)
  2. Fade | Eliza Victoria (fiction)
  3. A Century of Loneliness | Andrew Cheah (fiction)
  4. Childhood Dissertation | Jerrold Yam (poetry)
  5. curiosa :: oddities | Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé (poetry)
  6. Inside Thirty Hours | Joses Ho (poetry)
  7. Two Poems | Michael Gray (poetry)
  8. Kairos | Cyril Wong (poetry)
  9. The Tango | Kate Osias (fiction)
  10. No Other City | Ng Yi-Sheng (fiction)
  11. Yellow Card Man* | Paolo Bacigalupi (fiction)

* “Yellow Card Man” serves as a prelude to Bacigalupi’s celebrated debut novel The Windup Girl, and has now been updated and revised in this version so that it is consistent with the characters and events in that novel.

Click here for more information about LONTAR and this issue. Happy reading!

notes from baguio and dumaguete: part 2 – panelist

Read Part 1 here.

Next stop: Dumaguete for the Silliman University National Writers Workshop.

While in the middle of sorting things out for the Baguio trip, I got an invitation from Ricardo de Ungria (the Silliman University Workshop Director-in-Residence) to sit as guest panelist for the second week of Asia’s oldest creative writing workshop. It was such an honor, so of course I said yes! Even though this required: 1) little to no sleep in between workshops, as I will be getting home from Baguio on the 17th and flying out to Dumaguete on the 18th; 2) mad packing skillz; and 3) switching my perspective, in a matter of hours, from writing fellow to panelist, from mendicant to goddess. Charot.

Approaching land.
Alumni Hall, my home for five days.

It was a very interesting dynamic, and an experience that definitely sharpened my literary eye. As a panelist, you can’t just say the piece is not engaging — you have to be able to say why, and you have to be specific. These writers need to learn something from you, and not just the answers to the questions What do you mean you don’t like my work? And who are you anyway?

I remember reading one of the fiction manuscripts seven times, writing notes on the margins, because it was a work of fantasy and I wanted to be able to say something of value to the writer.

I remember writing two lines of notes on a poem (verb tenses! contradictory!) and side-eyeing them and doubting myself. Do I really hate this piece or am I just a lazy reader?

It was a lot of hard work. I think if I ever ran a workshop class I’d go home and have a breakdown every day.



Dumaguete!I have to admit, I got incredibly homesick. I’ve never been away from J for this long. But it didn’t cloud my vision: Dumaguete is a beautiful place. Food is cheap, people are friendly, and Silliman University is gorgeous.

My coffee at K.R.I.
View outside the Alumni Hall.

Middle of the week, we went to Bais City to see some dolphins and the Manjuyod White Sand Bar.


Photos by Shai'ianne Lawas and Ricardo de Ungria of the 54th SUNWW



I don’t have photos of the dolphins up close, but we saw A LOT of them. It was amazing!






Photos by Shai'ianne Lawas and Ricardo de Ungria of the 54th SUNWWAlso, we had lechon on the boat.

Photos by Shai'ianne Lawas and Ricardo de Ungria of the 54th SUNWW
The second week panelists: Patricia Evangelista, me, Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
Photos by Shai'ianne Lawas and Ricardo de Ungria of the 54th SUNWW
Ricky de Ungria, Patricia, me, Tammy. On the right, the two auditors from Myanmar, Parts Partosa, Philip van Peel (not looking at the camera), Alana Cabrera-Narciso.

Gorgeous weather.


20150520_120846We had the workshop that day in the city of Bais. Look at that fire tree.


Photos by Shai'ianne Lawas and Ricardo de Ungria of the 54th SUNWWWith the mayor of Bais.

Photos by Shai'ianne Lawas and Ricardo de Ungria of the 54th SUNWWOn Thursday, Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, my co-panelist from Hong Kong, gave a lecture and launched her poetry collection, Hula Hooping. I read one of her poems, and she gave me and the other panelists a copy of her book. Thanks Tammy!20150521_112847

20150521_171329I also donated a copy of Dwellers to the Silliman University Library. So if you happen to be on campus, you can sit in a quiet corner and read my book. Thank you to Creative Nonfiction Fellow Jona Bering for the photo.

I was also happy to finally meet author Ian Casocot (rightmost) in the flesh!

sillimanFriday night, the Silliman Workshop threw us a dinner in Lab-as. Unfortunately my stomach was acting up so I wasn’t able to eat much, but I very much enjoyed the company.

20150522_201558And just like that, the week was over and it was time to go home. I hope the fellows learned something from their week with us! And I do hope they keep writing.

Many thanks to Prof. De Ungria, my lovely co-panelists, and the rest of the Silliman Workshop family. Sa uulitin!

Photos by Shai'ianne Lawas and Ricardo de Ungria of the 54th SUNWW

Photos by Shai'ianne Lawas and Ricardo de Ungria of the 54th SUNWW
Panelists and Fellows under the acacia.

Special thanks to Sha’ianne Molas Lawas for some of the photos here.

notes from baguio and dumaguete: part 1 – writing fellow

For the past two weeks, I was able to do something I was never able to do in real life: read and critique literary work while consuming copious amounts of free food and coffee.

First stop: Baguio for the UP National Writers Workshop (May 10-17). I was accepted as a Writing Fellow here.

20150516_083408After checking in at the AIM Igorot Lodge, we headed to BenCab Museum to read/recite poems for the National Artist. This was my third time in the museum, but my first time to have a guided tour. I didn’t know there were different kinds of bulol! Dancing bulol, house guards — I just assumed they were all for fertility. You learn something new every day. (Such as: huwag mag-assume.)


20150510_163549There was a new exhibit called “The Garden of Acedia” by Marcel Antonio.

“Batman and Melancholy”

There were also new pieces by BenCab, because some of the old pieces had been moved to Manila for his 50th anniversary exhibit.

“Rene’s Performance”
Ben Cabrera addressing the workshop fellows and panelists.

That night, we had a short meeting after dinner to formally open the workshop.

Jayson Petras, Workshop Coordinator; Luna Sicat-Cleto, Workshop Director; Roland Tolentino, Acting Institute of Creative Writing Director.

Good morning! We had three panels every day to cover the 12 submitted manuscripts.

20150511_065951The panels made me miss my undergrad days.

20150512_110945When in Baguio, I usually just stick to Session Road, but now that we’re in Camp John Hay I couldn’t pass up the chance to drop by Choco-late de Batirol.


Tsokolate at suman sa lihiya.

We also had a film screening of Teng Mangansakan’s Qiyamah, which tackles the end-times from the perspective of a small Muslim village. Absolutely stunning.

20150513_200132On Thursday, we dropped by the University of the Philippines-Baguio for a lecture on Young Adult Literature by panelist Eugene Evasco and fellows Will Ortiz and Segundo Matias. I tagged along and also answered some questions about writing fantasy, and writing in general.





54th UP National Writers Workshop. Photos from Vlad G.

20150514_164218And of course we went to Batirol again! I tried their Baguio Blend this time, which was the Traditional Tsokolate drizzled with strawberry syrup. Yum.

Batirol, Photo from Vlad G.Kidlat Tahimik also dropped by to screen his film Balikbayan Box No. 1.


20150514_201524My workshop panel was on Friday, where I presented the science fiction story collection I’m working on right now. Positive comments, good points from the panelists and the fellows. You can read my poetics here.

54th UP National Writers Workshop. Photos from Vlad G.

54th UP National Writers Workshop. Photos from Vlad G.That night: Poetry Slam! The Poetry Slam used to be held in Mt. Cloud Bookshop, but Mt. Cloud proved to be too small for the crowd the event now attracted. This year, it was held in Cafe Yagam.




The organizer brought books from Mt. Cloud, and I was delighted to see that they carried all three of my books! Thank you to the fellows who bought copies.

54th UP National Writers Workshop. Photos from Vlad G.

54th UP National Writers Workshop. Photos from Vlad G.How it goes: Round 1, perform a poem. Round 2, perform an original poem. Round 3, poets will be given 15 minutes to write an original poem based on a theme that will be provided that night. I signed up for the heck of it but got eliminated after Round 2! Ha! I can’t perform to save my life. Congratulations to Mida Mabitad and Ned Parfan of the UPNWW, who were absolutely amazing!


54th UP National Writers Workshop. Photos from Vlad G.

20150515_221041We had a short graduation ceremony on Saturday night. I was asked to give a response (along with Rhod Nuncio) on behalf of the fellows. Here’s what I said (from what I can recall):

We, the Fellows, understand the importance of workshops, of community, of having time and space carved out of our realities in which we can spend our days reading stories and discussing literary work with people who understand us. We know how humbling and heartwarming it is to realize that we are not unique in our views, and that we are not alone. Thank you for this opportunity, and we hope to see you all again after this week.

Thank you to the UP ICW! I really enjoyed my stay.

Graduation Day!

54th UP National Writers Workshop. Photos from Vlad G.

54th UP National Writers Workshop. Photos from Vlad G.For more information, you can visit the workshop blog:

You can also read the tweets to get a feel of the discussions:

Special thanks to Vlad Gonzales for some of the photos here.

Read Part 2.